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EXCLUSIVE: Phil Collins Talks Alcohol-Addled Past: 'It was Killing Me'

by Raphael Chestang 3:27 PM PDT, October 24, 2016
Playing EXCLUSIVE: Phil Collins Talks Alcohol-Addled Past: 'It was Killing Me'

Phil Collins is opening up about his battle with the bottle that almost cost him his life.

After an illustrious career, which earned him seven GRAMMY awards, two Golden Globes, an Oscar and a Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction, Collins announced his retirement from music in 2011 at 60 years old. With more time on his hands than ever before, the singer-songwriter turned to the bottle to occupy his days.

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"I put the brakes on, which is like an oil tanker, it takes a long time to stop," Collins tells ET's Jennifer Peros. "I kind of enjoyed not having to do anything -- turn on some TV, watch some sports. Then you're turning on the TV a little earlier, having a glass of wine a little earlier. Then the wine becomes vodka, and then suddenly, you're killing yourself."

The now 65-year-old "In the Air Tonight" singer had a dramatic wake-up call when his drinking resulted in a trip to the hospital.

"I was in intensive care," the former Genesis drummer recalls. "I was in a hospital with tubes sticking out of my neck and on my back with constant bleeping machines, and that was awful."

Collins details this scary moment in his life in his new memoir, Not Dead Yet. In the book, the music icon says that he did do a short stint in rehab, but quickly decided it wasn't for him. Today, he's happy to report that he's able to drink responsibly and in moderation.

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"I didn't drink for three years," Collins says. "Now, I'm capable of having a couple of glasses of wine. I personally do not believe I was an alcoholic. I had a problem with alcohol. I didn't have anything else to do, and I enjoyed it. But when I had to stop because it was killing me, I stopped."

Now that he's healthy again, Collins has returned to music. After announcing that he is "no longer officially retired" in 2015, Collins has booked a nine-date European tour, launching June 4.

Not Dead Yet: The Memoir hits shelves Tuesday. The Singles, a collection of Collins' hit songs, is out now.

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